mixing plugins

Essential Mixing Plugins for Music Production in 2023

If you want to take your mixes to a professional level, having the right plugins in your toolkit is essential. Based on our experience, these 10 mixing plugins deliver the audio quality, flexibility, and precision needed to achieve pro-sounding results.

Fabfilter Pro-Q 3 – Pristine EQ for Surgical Mixing

Fabfilter pro q3

Image credits: Fabfilter


Price: $169

Pros: Extremely clean EQ, linear phase mode, dynamic EQ, customizable interface

Cons: Advanced features have a learning curve


With its pristine audio quality and surgical controls, Pro-Q 3 remains my go-to EQ for notching out resonances without compromising musicality. The dynamic EQ mode is perfect for natural de-essing and tight low-end.


A key feature is the dynamic EQ mode, which applies EQ only when user-defined thresholds are exceeded. This can be useful for transparent de-essing, controlling problematic frequencies, and other tasks requiring a dynamic approach. Zero latency, linear phase, and natural phase algorithms are included to suit different needs.


The interface provides visualization tools like a real-time spectrum analyzer and EQ curve display. Interactive components allow grabbing and adjusting peaks quickly. The surround sound support, advanced phase options, spectrum matching, and MIDI/external control integration provide extensive workflow customization.


Mastering The Mix Fuser – Intelligent Mix Assistant


Image credits: Mastering The Mix


Price: $59

Pros: Automates mix conflict resolution, simple interface, mid/side balance control, phase analysis, gain matching

Cons: None

FUSER aims to quickly resolve mix conflicts with smart sidechain ducking, phase rotation, and volume balancing. The visual interface identifies mid/side masking issues and guides your corrections.


While optimized for technical mix clarification rather than creative effects, FUSER provides an intelligent assistant for cleaning up a crowded mix. Producers praise its ability to create space and clarity when tracks compete.


At $59, this transparent mix optimizer automates tedious technical work, ideal for dense/complex mixes. FUSER won’t replace hands-on mixing skill, but gives your tracks an effortless clarity boost.






Image credits: Soundtoys


Price: $179

Pros: Adds rich analog warmth, easy to dial in sound, tone-shaping controls

Cons: No multiband controls

The 5 hardware-modeled distortion types recreate the sound of tubes, transistors, circuits, and studio gear pushed to warm overdrive. The responsive modeling captures the dynamics and complexity of real analog gear.


Tone controls shape the saturation from dark to bright. Mix knobs blend in dry signal for parallel processing. The “Punish” button kicks things into raucous overdrive.


While digital distortion can be cold and harsh, Decapitator keeps that raw, musical analog attitude. The models replicate both vintage classics and modern boutique gear, from consoles and preamps to distortions. The flexibility and control takes modeling far beyond simpler emulations.



Soundtoys EchoBoy – Delay Effects


Image credits: Soundtoys


Price: $199

Pros: Advanced delay features, analog-modeled sound, rhythmic/dub options, modulation

Cons: Intensive CPU usage, Expensive.

At the core are 30 distinct echo styles modeled on classic hardware like the Echoplex, Space Echo, Memory Man, and Roland RE-20. The analog-modeled processing captures the warm, rich sound of vintage delays.

You can further dial in the tone with controls for saturation, flutter, and diffusion. The Tape Head mode emulates Ampex tape saturation on vocals and more. Stereo Ping-Pong and Dual modes create immersive effects.




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Weiss Deess – Natural, Transparent De-Essing


Image credits: Softube


Price: $199

Pros: Natural, transparent sound quality, adaptive processing, intuitive visualization, versatile controls

Cons: Not always accurate, Expensive


The Weiss Deess provides studio-grade de-essing with exceptional transparency. Its adaptive processing automatically optimizes de-essing based on the audio.


The intuitive interface with FFT displays makes it easy to visualize and fine-tune the reduction of harsh sibilance. Two independent bands allow for de-essing precision not possible with single-band tools.


It delivers exceptionally natural de-essing results without compromising air and clarity. For everything from vocals to full mixes, the Weiss Deess aims to tame harshness with subtlety and musicality.



Output Portal – Unique Granular Effects

output portal

Image credits: Output


Price: $149

Pros: Generates glitchy textures and ambiences, deep modulation, inspiring creative tool

Cons: Quite CPU-intensive, more presets focused and can be intimidating to edit presets or create new.


It captures tiny “grains” of the input audio and manipulates them in intricate ways to transform sound. Grains can be pitch shifted, looped, scattered, distorted, and more for abstract textures.


Portal provides exceptional control over the granular engine with tweakable parameters like grain size and spacing, density, pitch spread, distortion, filtering, and smearing. The modulation options bring the effects to life with fluid motion.


Whether you need warped ambiences, glitchy transitions, cinematic risers, or just want to explore abstract sound design, Portal delivers. It shatters audio into pieces then reconstitutes it into everything from mellow pads to complete sonic mayhem.



Fabfilter Pro-MB – Custom Multiband Compression

Fabfilter Pro MB

Image credits: Fabfilter


Price: $169

Pros: 6 flexible bands, Precise control over sound, Clean compression

Cons: Complex interface, CPU-intensive


For transparent compression tailored to different frequency ranges, Pro-MB allows me to intuitively tame transients, control lows, and more without over-compressing. The clean analog-modeled sound retains dynamics.


The 6 fully customizable processing bands can be placed freely across the spectrum or snapped together for traditional crossovers. This allows complete control over where in the frequency range compression is applied.


Pro-MB handles every compression need – transparent glue, pumping effects, gating, limiting, and more. The unique Dynamic Phase mode delivers zero latency and no artifacts. Linear Phase and Minimum Phase options are also available. Each band provides deep compression shaping with controls for threshold, range, attack, release, ratio, knee, lookahead, stereo linking, and external sidechaining. Crossover slopes are adjustable from 6 dB/oct to 48 dB/oct. The interface makes it easy to analyze and adapt dynamics in each band.




Image credits: Rift 2.0


Price: $129

Pros: Huge range of granular filters, completely reshapes sound, great for builds/drops

Cons: More of a sound design tool than a distortion plugin


At the core is a groundbreaking multi-polar distortion engine with 30 types and up to 6 processing stages. This allows for everything from subtle warmth to full-on mangled tones.


Rift 2.0 also features state-of-the-art morphing filters, physical modeling feedback loops, and flexible multi-band routing. This enables filter sweeps, distortions, and effects tailored to specific frequency ranges.



bx_dynEQ V2 – Dynamic EQ for Mix Problem-Solving


Image credits: Brainworx


Price: $50

Pros: Controls uneven resonances dynamically, tightens low-end, preserves natural tone

Cons: Old-fashioned GUI

It adjusts frequencies like an EQ but also controls dynamics like a compressor – even allowing compression based on external sidechain signals. The 2-band design, filter types like Shelving and Pass Filters, and Mid/Side processing with crossfeed functions provide surgical tonal shaping.


Inverse Mode cuts bands when triggered for problem-solving flexibility. Whether tightening low end, creating sidechain ducking, or smoothing uneven vocals, bx_dynEQ V2 dynamically adapts as both a creative sound shaper and technical mixer’s toolbox.



Boz Digital Labs Transgressor 2 – Transient Shaper

transgressor 2


Price: $99

Pros: Includes the ability to independently shape transients without affecting resonance, customize envelopes, and trigger external sidechains

Cons: Poor Graphical user interface.


With its variable multiband saturation, Transgressor 2 fattens and gives character while retaining dynamics. It adds richness to mixes without crushing them. The tone-shaping controls let me customize the harmonic character.


With this versatile mixing toolkit, engineers can achieve pro-level polish, tightness, and exciting sound design. Though pricey, these plugins provide the surgical precision, rich sound, and creative effects that take mixes to the next level. Give your music the high-quality production it deserves.




Level Up Your Mixes in 2023

These 10 mixing plugins provide today’s music producers with exceptional sound quality, rich analog character, and deep creative flexibility for next-level mixes. By mastering this diverse toolkit in 2023, you can achieve professional polish, solidify your mix foundations, and explore new creative territory. Don’t settle for stock plugins – step up to the professional mixing power of these essentials.




Image credits: Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

Hemant has been actively involved in the dance music industry with over 3 years of experience. Currently working as a Project Manager and heading the We Rave You Tech division. Get in touch via email.